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Youth Entrepreneurship

Living in The Blue Mountains, many youth are exposed to successful entrepreneurs in a variety of businesses. Young people often don’t think of themselves as “entrepreneurs”, yet many start small businesses each year. For example:

  • Lawn care, handyperson, small construction, house cleaning, painting
  • Home-made jewelry, treats, or other items sold at a local fair
  • Swimming/paddleboard/surfing lessons
  • Website creator, social media services, computer service tech
  • Tutoring

Having an entrepreneurial mindset can help young people flourish in their own business or in the corporate world. These young people think creatively, are problem solvers, know how to market and sell themselves, and know what goes in to earning revenue and paying expenses.

There are a number of resources available locally to help students “test the waters” by running their own summer business, or to help them start their own business once they have completed their education. If you have any questions, please contact the Town's Economic Development and Communications Staff.

Learning how to run your own student business is one of the best summer jobs you can have. You get to be your own boss while learning what it takes to manage a business. Sales, marketing, bookkeeping, customer relationship management and networking are just a few of the highly useful skills you’ll develop.

Through a program called Summer Company, you will receive:

  • start-up money to kick-off a new summer business
  • advice, training and mentorship from local business leaders to help get the business up and running

To find out if you are eligible, visit the Summer Company website. Get inspiration and business ideas from success stories on YouTube, or Social Media.

The program is run through the South Georgian Bay Small Business Centre located in Collingwood and applications are usually accepted between February and April of each year. To get started contact them today!

The Make Your Pitch competition is an incredibly fun way to start talking about your business idea!

The Make Your Pitch competition invites high school students in Ontario to pitch their business ideas in a two-minute video. Videos are judged through online public voting (40%) and expert judges’ scores (60%).

Twenty finalists are chosen who are awarded a trip to Toronto to pitch their ideas live at OCE’s Discovery Conference and Showcase, April 30 - May 1, 2018, in front of a panel of judges from the entrepreneur community.

Based on the live pitches, the judges select six winners who are presented with reserved entry into the Summer Company Program along with an award suite to be announced.

Check out the highlights and awards ceremony video from the finalist event at Discovery 2017.

Starter Company started out as a youth entrepreneurship grant and education program, but is now available to entrepreneurs of all ages. Starter Company is designed to help new businesses get off the ground with grants of up to $5,000, mentorship and advice.

This is perfect for young people who have finished their education, and now want to start their own small business.

To find out if you are eligible, visit the Starter Company website.

This program is run through the South Georgian Bay Small Business Centre in Collingwood and applications are usually accepted between February and April of each year. To get started contact them today!

Futurepreneur Canada supports young entrepreneurs with up to $45,000 in financing, an expert business mentor for up to two years and resources to help you plan, manage and grow your business.

This program has more specific and more challenging criteria, but review the eligibility requirements and find out if you qualify.

The Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre offers a variety of interesting programs designed to support new and growing businesses. Whether you need help thinking through your business plan, or you are interested in starting a specialty food business, art business, or social entreprise, there are programs tailored for you. It’s not just all about “tech”, its about finding what you love to do and creating a business opportunity.

For more information available to Youth in our area, including links to local jobs and other resources, please visit our Youth page.


Tim Hendry
Communications & Economic Development
519-599-3131 x282